BUL Armory is an Israeli-based company founded in 1990 that specialized in the development, construction, and maintenance of shooting ranges. They quickly realized there was a market for polymer-framed 1911-style pistols, which they introduced in 1992 with the BUL M-5. Since then, the company’s handguns have adapted to meet the needs of competitive shooters who are looking for a budget-friendly 1911 to get them into competition.

In 2006, BUL Armory revamped its lineup again and began offering the Cherokee and Cherokee Compact, with a focus on the military and LEO market. We got the latter in for review and put it through its paces.
 

Ergonomics & Specs


Despite the name, the Cherokee Compact is a large gun with a 17+1 capacity that closely resembles the EAA Witness. It features large finger grooves and an aggressive grip texture. If you’ve been following my reviews for any time, then you know I’m a fan of aggressive grip texture, and this pistol certainly delivers some of the most aggressive grips I’ve ever felt. Though I’m not a huge fan of finger grooves on guns, these didn’t cause me any issues and should fit shooters with even the largest hands.
 

Grip on BUL Armory Cherokee
If that's not aggressive grip texture I don't know what is. (Photo: Seth Rodgers/Guns.com)


The gun filled my palm nicely and left plenty of room for my support hand. The controls were all easy to access, though I wouldn’t necessarily say easy to use. The mag release worked fine and dropped mags freely, however, the slide release and external safety were a little more difficult to actuate. 
 

SHOP BUL ARMORY!


Both of those controls certainly worked, but they took a concerted effort to make them do so. While I’ve encountered slide releases before that have been difficult in the past, I’ve never encountered a safety that was so hard to actuate. It was very tough and repeatedly failed to go from safe to fire with pressure from a single thumb.
 

Safety on BUL Armory Cherokee
The manual safety proved a bit difficult to operate with a single thumb, but this could be part of the break in period. (Photo: Seth Rodgers/Guns.com)


It should be noted that this gun was fresh from the factory, and I was the first person to handle it. So one could chalk up the “stickiness” to a break-in period, but we would need to do more testing to confirm this.

Check out the other specs on this gun below:

  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 17+1
  • Weight: 24.8 ounces
  • Overall Length: 7.48 inches
  • Barrel Length: 3.66 inches
  • Height: 5.51 inches
  • Sight Radius: 5.43 inches

Initial Thoughts on the Range


I put 200 rounds of Winchester White Box and S&B through this gun, and the DA/SA trigger performed nicely on the range. The double-action mode has a lot of mush to power through at the top of the trigger pull to get to the wall, but the break is nice and clean. Once it’s in single-action mode, the trigger was quite pleasurable and barely took any effort to break through the wall. 
 

Trigger on BUL Armory Cherokee
The trigger proved to be the best part of this gun. (Photo: Seth Rodgers/Guns.com)


The traditional three-dot sights were easy enough to pick up on the range, and the gun proved to be accurate enough for home defense or concealed carry work. It chewed through the 200 rounds without issue, and I was able to produce decent groupings. The weight of the gun, along with the full-length stainless-steel guide rod, helped eat up some of the recoil, and the grip texture made sure that the weld to the hand was very positive. Further, the enlarged beavertail ensured that I wasn’t going to get any slide bite when training.
 

Range test of BUL Armory Cherokee
The best two mag group at 25 feet. By the second mag, up top, I started to get in the groove and the grouping came together nicely. How about that flyer right below the gun? Story of my life, face meet palm. (Photo: Seth Rodgers/Guns.com)


Overall, it wasn’t the best gun I’ve ever shot, but it certainly wasn’t the worst either. The trigger is probably the best feature of the gun, which makes it desirable for taking to the range for an enjoyable shooting experience. 
 

How This Gun Fits In


With a 17+1 capacity, the ability to add a light or laser, and a DA/SA trigger that was a pleasure to shoot, this gun would probably fit in as a nice home defense gun. It’s a bit large to carry for me. Plus, I’m not a fan of DA/SA guns for carry purposes, but that is a whole other story. I’m sure there are people who would be able to carry this without any issue. 
 

EXPLORE BUL ARMORY HANDGUNS!


The other reason I would be hesitant to carry this gun is that I would want to carry it cocked and locked, which BUL actually advises against in the user manual. But it’s really the aforementioned issue with the safety that would make me wary.  With a 17+1 capacity, could clock in either  for concealed carry or home defense.
 

Conclusion


BUL Armory provides a nice, budget-friendly option for those looking to get a 17+1 handgun with DA/SA capability. If you’re looking for a gun like this, one that groups decently while eating up recoil, then you should check out the BUL Armory Cherokee.

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